Farmers are optimistic about growth and planning for expansion where possible, a new agricultural survey has found.

Despite falling prices, optimism among Sussex farmers is high with 69% expecting growth.

Predictions the European cereal harvest will beat the average for the second year running may be a reason for optimism.

But there is also a shortage of available land for those looking to expand their businesses.

Alison Aggleton, agricultural tax adviser at Carpenter Box, the Worthing firm which carried out the research, said: “It is good that farmers in our region are thinking about succession and I would encourage them to start the long term process of change early rather than be forced into decisions as a result of illness or death.

“It is important to recognise the difference between business succession planning and estate succession planning as one can easily undo the other.

“The key considerations are to maintain business growth and secure family relationships.”